Your visit to The Drop begins in a typical modern corporate office: reception desk, comfy sofas in the waiting area, promotional video playing in the corner, and cheesy muzak piped in while you wait. After signing in you’re directed to take the lift to the third floor.
You enter the lift, and – well, that’s about as much as I’m allowed to tell you of the plot. The Drop presents surprise after surprise, constantly challenging your preconceptions of what’s really going on. You’ll need your wits honed as you figure out the clues to progress your way through the story. Along the way you’ll enter a store room through a hole blasted in the wall, visit a jewellery shop, and end up at an additional location that I’m not at liberty to divulge. You’ll need your mobile phone with you to access websites, make phone calls, and send and receive text messages.
Cards on the table: I’m an avid fan of both immersive theatre and escape room games, and I’ve played a lot of both. But I have never experienced such intricacy of plotting, or such professionalism in the design, construction and dressing of the sets. The creators of The Drop, Ollie Jones and Clem Garritty, are graduates of Punchdrunk, and their obsessive attention to detail is apparent in every aspect of the show’s appearance and flawless mechanics.
Before being taken over by Swamp Motel, the site was an abandoned betting shop; but it has been transformed into its new incarnation with a degree of skill and realism that’s frankly astonishing. All this effort has produced an experience that’s wholly convincing, hugely entertaining and thoroughly engrossing. Our party of four laughed out loud on several occasions at the sheer brassneck verve of the twists and turns, with each jaw-dropping revelation building to a startling yet satisfying conclusion.
This is a show for people who like puzzles, and who are willing to test their ingenuity and deductive skills in order to complete each task. The Drop takes the escape room game to unprecedented heights of ingenuity and sophistication.
At around an hour in length it’s not cheap – nearly £170 for four people – but I guarantee you will never have experienced a show like it.
Created and Devised by: Clem Garritty, Ollie Jones, Peter Hobday and Sadie Spencer
Producer: Will Herman for Swamp Motel
Designer: Clem Garritty
Associate Designer: Elouise Farley
Sound Designer: Emmet O’Donnell
Creative Technologist: Leo Woolcock
Production Manager: Dominic Baker
Web Developer: James Drury
Graphic Designer: Gareth Paul Jones
The Drop is playing at 55 Aldgate High Street until 31st December.